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Articles from 2018 In July


MIDDAY Midwest Digest, July 31, 2018

There were some nervous residents and first responders when a grain elevator exploded in central Illinois. There were no injuries.

Crop conditions for corn and soybeans are still in good shape, overall. The best corn is in North Dakota, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Illinois.

How will the Oshkosh, Wis., airshow top this year's performance? The 49th EAA AirVenture was nearly perfect on all fronts. 

MORNING Midwest Digest, July 31, 2018

The Missouri attorney general has opened a criminal investigation into the duck boat accident. It came within two civil lawsuits being filed.

The corn and soybean crops remain in great shape, overall. Both crop conditions held steady from a week ago. However, some fields in Missouri, Kansas and Michigan look dismal.

Authorities in Iowa will give an update on the hunt for a college student. The woman went for a run on July 18 in Brooklyn, Iowa. Her disappearance has gained national attention as investigators check data from her Fitbit and social media accounts.

A Michigan man was bitten by his pet cobra two weeks ago and is still in the hospital. Doctors struggled to find the correct anti-venom. The man is on the road to recovery. 

Farm Progress America, July 31, 2018

Max Armstrong shares that consumers want more information on the chicken they buy and eat. They want that label on the package. Max notes that the red meat industry has been dealing with the issue for some time. A poultry industry survey shows a growing need for that information.

Farm Progress America is a daily look at key issues in agriculture. It is produced and presented by Max Armstrong, veteran farm broadcaster and host of This Week in Agribusiness.

Photo: VLG/iStock/Getty Images Plus

What is your farms wean-to-service interval?

large litter with sow

For this column we are taking a little different approach when looking at wean-to-service interval. We pulled 22 farms from the database and pulled all individual sow records for those farms over the last three years. These 22 farms were selected for a couple of reasons, first being that they did not experience a porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome or a porcine epidemic diarrhea virus challenge in the last three years. A second reason was because of the record program they were using allowing for ease of comparison.

Swine Management Services

Table 1 shows some of the key performance indicator averages for the entire Swine Management Services database as well as the subset of 22 farms. There is a range of performance from farms over 34 pigs weaned per mated female for the last 52 weeks down to 23 pigs weaned per mated female in the subset. Wean-to-service interval ranged from 4.47 days to nine days. The farms in this subset averaged 5.48 days compared to the SMS database at 6.82, a difference of 1.34 days. Taking into consideration the cost of feed and housing at $2.50 per day for the 1.34 days difference it is an $11.8 million impact on just the SMS database of 1.5 million sows. Is the first wean-to-service interval a good predictor of lifetime wean-to-service interval or herd longevity?

Swine Management Services

The following data take into account over 591,000 farrowing records. In Chart 1 it shows that the higher their first wean-to-service interval (X axis) was, the higher the Parity 2 intervals (Y axis) were as well. For example, if her first wean-to-service interval was six days she averaged 6.3 days for her P2 wean-to-service interval. In Chart 2 it shows the wean-to-service interval (X axis) same for Parity 3 as well, up to Day 14 for the first wean-to-service interval (Y axis). If the first wean-to-service interval as over 14 days, the P3 average was lower than those in the 11-14 day first service. In Chart 3 it looks at lifetime average wean-to-service interval (Y axis), if the first wean-to-service interval (X axis) was more than eight days the sows averaged over six days for the lifetime.

Swine Management Services

Swine Management Services

Chart 4 looks at farrowings (Y axis) for P1 wean-to-service interval (X axis) and resulting farrowing rate compared to all other parities. With a few exceptions, there really isn’t much of a difference in the resulting farrowing rate between the two parity groups. Should a first parity stay in the herd longer with a higher wean-to-service interval just because she is young?

Swine Management Services

In Chart 5 we limited the records to just those sows that had been removed from the herd. We looked at their first wean-to-service interval (X axis) and how it impacted the average parity culled (Y axis). Again, there is a lot of variation in the average removal parity which just shows that there are a lot more things that impact removal parity than just the wean-to-service interval of the first parity. Those with first wean-to-service interval of Day 8 or 9 actually stayed in the herd longer than those who had a first wean-to-service interval Day 4-7.

Swine Management Services

So, what are the management practices that we see drive wean-to-service interval the most?

• Amount of lactation consumption
• Boar exposure and lots of it starting the day they are weaned
• Feeding 8 plus pounds per day after weaning until bred
• Having well-trained technicians and enough to make sure that sows aren’t being missed in the line as they lock up prior to the boar arriving to them.

What is your farms wean-to-service interval?

Extended deadline for sow housing study
SMS and the University of Nebraska are working together on an extensive sow housing study. This study is open to all farms in the United States and Canada that have been operating for at least three years and using the same housing system for one year. There is an extensive survey to fill out as well as submitting your production data file. If you are interested in participating in this project, contact Benny Mote at 402-310-9878 or Valerie Duttlinger with Swine Management Services at 812-430-5969. All data must be submitted by Sept. 1 to participate in this study.

SMS Production Index
Table 2 provides the 52-week rolling averages for 11 production numbers represented in the SMS Production Index. The numbers are separated by 90-100%, the 70-90%, the 50-70%, the 30-50% and the 0-30% groups. We also included the 13-week, 26-week and 12-quarter averages. These numbers represent what we feel are the key production numbers to look at to evaluate the farm’s performance.

Swine Management Services

At SMS, our mission statement is to provide “Information solutions for the swine industry.” We feel with the creation of different SMS Benchmarking databases for all production areas we now have more detailed information to share with the swine industry. If your farm would like to be part of the SMS Benchmarking databases, or if you have suggestions on production areas to write columns about, please contact Mark RixRon Ketchem or Valerie Duttlinger. We enjoy being a part of the NHF Daily team.

North American Manure Expo offers tours and demos

National Pork Board Manure applicator injecting into a soybean field.

Source: South Dakota State University iGrow
The 2018 North American Manure Expo is coming to the Swiftel Center in Brookings, S.D., Aug. 15-16. This two-day event, hosted by South Dakota State University Extension and partners, is an opportunity for livestock producers, professional manure applicators, consultants, specialists and many others to see the advances in the manure management industry.

“Manure management plays an incredibly important role in South Dakota’s agriculture industry,” explains David Kringen, SDSU Extension water resources field specialist. “From protection of our natural resources to boosting soil health, our No. 1 industry depends upon proper manure management and utilization.”

Aug. 15 attendees will have the opportunity to attend industry tours and a dairy manure agitation demonstration.

Aug. 16 is dedicated to educational presentations and providing attendees with the opportunity to view manure application equipment at work in the field.

An industry tradeshow will be ongoing both days. To learn more about educational presentations and to see an exhibitor list, visit the North American Manure Expo website.

Tour details
Expo attendees will have the opportunity to attend one of three different tours scheduled for the morning of Aug. 15. To help cover costs, tours are $20.

Tour check-in begins at 8 a.m. Pre-registration is required. To register, visit the North American Manure Expo Tour website. Tour registration ends Aug. 10.

Buses will depart the Swiftel Center grounds at 9 a.m. sharp. The registration fee includes transportation and lunch.

All tour buses will return to the Swiftel Center by mid-afternoon following the agitation demo.

Tour options include:

Tour 1: Mooving Manure on Dairies

This tour will feature a dairy that shows how manure separation, aeration and irrigation work together for a local farm family.

Learn about the design, implementation, management and experiences of moving manure.

Tour 2: Beefing Up the System

This tour features a local farm that raises beef cattle and manages manure in open lots, bedded pack barns and deep pit systems.

The tour will also visit the South Dakota State University Cow-Calf Education and Research Facility, which showcases research and manure management for both pasture and confinement systems.

Tour 3: A Look Inside Swine Systems

This tour will take participants inside swine barns to see how manure storage systems are designed and managed, and the pig environment.

The tour includes a swine barn under construction. At the South Dakota State University Swine Education and Research Facility, a viewing hallway allows tour participants to see inside the gestation barn and view stall and pen gestation and farrowing in action.

After lunch, participants from all three tours will be shuttled to a local dairy where they will see a number of companies showcasing their equipment in a Manure Agitation Demonstration along with a solids separation demo.

Vendors will demonstrate manure agitation equipment that overcome the challenges of crust and solid build-up, ensuring mixing throughout outdoor manure storages.

Field equipment demonstrations
During the afternoon of Aug. 16, the field equipment demonstration portion of the Expo will be held just west of the Swiftel Center.

The demo will include machinery from more than 20 different companies. More than a dozen different manure spreaders will be showing off the latest capabilities in sold manure handling, and over half a dozen liquid applicators will be demonstrating as well.

A number of compost turners are also scheduled for demonstrations.

Prevent soil compaction
A demonstration focused on soil compaction prevention is scheduled for the afternoon of Aug. 16, in the same location as the equipment demonstrations. Industry personnel will also be on hand to visit with attendees about soil health and species selection as they view multiple cover crop plots.

To learn more, visit the North American Manure Expo website.

Culbertson joins Osborne sales staff

Osborne Industries Inc. announces that Cory Culbertson has been named North America sales representative for livestock equipment. Along with Osborne’s customer-centric focus, Culbertson will assist in the distribution of Osborne’s swine management equipment in the Midwest United States. “As a former swine producer myself, I know the challenges facing the modern producer,” states Culbertson. “In my new role, I hope to help producers discover the tools Osborne has available that help save money and improve efficiency at every stage of production.”

Cory Culbertson, Osborne Industries North America sales representative for livestock equipment

Culbertson brings extensive experience and knowledge of the swine industry and swine equipment to Osborne. He has more than 14 years of experience in pork production as an independent farrow-to-finish producer and was a past director of the Kossuth County Pork Producers Association. Additionally, Culbertson worked as a territory manager for both Smithfield Foods and Hanor Co., with about 14 years of production management experience for their contract finishers.

“We are very pleased to have Cory join the employee-owned team at Osborne. He brings knowledge and experience in the industry that will help us to continue developing solutions which meet the challenges faced by producers,” says Amy Conrad, Osborne’s sales and marketing manager. “Being a native of north central Iowa, Cory is in the heart of premiere hog production country in the U.S., and has a unique ability to communicate with actual producers to help them solve their most complicated production challenges.”

Osborne Industries Inc., is a diversified developer and manufacturer of livestock management equipment known for saving producers time and money. Osborne products like Stanfield Heat Pads, Big Wheel Feeders, Accu-Arm Scales, Agriaide Ventilation Equipment, and advanced automated feeding and weighing equipment like TEAM Electronic Sow Feeding Systems, FIRE Pig Performance Testing Feeders, and the Weight Watcher Growth Management System are marketed and distributed worldwide. Visit the Osborne website or e-mail [email protected] for more information.

Source: Osborne Industries Inc.

ISU animal science professors earn national awards

Source: Iowa State University
Iowa State University animal scientists have been honored with national awards from the American Society of Animal Science.

Anna Johnson and Kenneth Stalder, professors in the Department of Animal Science, were respectively presented the Animal Industry Service Award and ASAS Fellow in the Extension category. The national designations were presented at the society’s annual meeting earlier this month.

“Dr. Stalder and Dr. Johnson have contributed valuable research discoveries and applications that enhance animal productivity and well-being for the swine industry,” says Donald Beermann, chair of the animal science department. “Their Extension programs effectively provide a positive impact to various segments of swine production and processing businesses.”

Johnson’s award recognized her work in animal welfare. She began her career at the National Pork Board as director of animal welfare. She was instrumental in the formulation and launch of the Swine Welfare Assurance Program, now part of the Pork Quality Assurance Plus Program.

She joined Iowa State in 2005. Johnson earned a doctorate degree from Texas Tech University in animal science, a master’s degree in applied animal behavior and animal welfare from Edinburgh University in Scotland and a bachelor’s degree in animal science from Reading University in England.

Stalder joined Iowa State as an Extension swine specialist in 2003. He earned a bachelor’s degree in animal science from Iowa State in 1987 and a doctoral degree in 1995, in addition to a master’s degree from Western Kentucky University in 1992.

Stalder has helped the U.S. swine industry focus on sow longevity, joining with colleagues to develop spreadsheets to determine how long a sow has to remain in a herd to be cost effective and posters showing ideal replacement gilt traits.

Enriching sows’ positive behavior

Prairie Swine Centre Pigs provided enrichment (pig toys) are less aggressive against each other

By Jennifer Brown, Prairie Swine Centre; Cyril Roy and Yolande Seddon, University of Saskatchewan Western College of Veterinary Medicine; and Laurie Connor, University of Manitoba
There is no denying that enrichment for pigs has been slow to catch on with pork producers. Besides the cost of materials and the time needed to install, clean or repair enrichments, producers may ask, “what’s the big deal about ‘pig toys’?” However, there is now an impressive amount of research showing the benefits of providing enrichment in to pigs, from reduced aggression, to fewer damaging behaviors and increased growth.

On Canadian farms, interest in enrichment has grown recently due to changes in the Code of Practice requirements, stating that “Pigs must be provided with multiple forms of enrichment … to improve the welfare of the animals through the enhancement of their physical and social environments.” This change, along with increasing adoption of group housing for sows led a team of Canadian researchers, directed by Laurie Connor at the University of Manitoba, to study how best to provide enrichment to sows in groups.

Most studies on enrichment have looked at grow-finish pigs because this is the stage when most damaging behaviors appear, such as tail biting or flank sucking, and the effects can be devastating. A few studies have been done on sows, with the general conclusion that feeding fibrous materials such as straw or hay is best: pigs are highly attracted to items that are both manipulable and consumable, and for feed-restricted sows the increase in gut fill is an added bonus.

On European farms, producers are required to provide 300 grams (about half a pound) of fiber per sow per day. But North American producers are reluctant to provide straw, largely due to biosecurity concerns and the potential for straw to clog liquid manure systems. Studies in Canada have therefore focused on object enrichments that could be provided in slatted or partially slatted pens.

Between 2014 and 2017, three studies were done to evaluate sows’ interest in a variety of enrichments, including wood suspended on chains, cotton rope, loose straw and a dispenser for chopped hay. The enrichments were tested on two research farms, one with free-access stall housing and one with electronic sow feeding. The way that the items were presented also varied. For example, comparing provision of one constant enrichment to a rotation of three enrichments, or varying the number provided at once from one to three enrichments per group of 28 sows.

Prairie Swine Centre

While sows interacted with all of the enrichments, not surprisingly, loose straw (placed on a solid floor) was the most preferred. Not only was the straw consumable, it spread out over a larger area, allowing more animals to interact with it at the same time, compared to hanging enrichments. Between the object enrichments, rope was slightly preferred over wood enrichment. Rotating multiple enrichments resulted in more sow interaction than provision of a single enrichment, confirming that sows appreciate a degree of novelty in their daily routine.

The researchers hypothesized that dominant sows in a group may obtain greater access to enrichment than subordinates, so the impact of sows’ social status on enrichment use and stress physiology was observed.

In both free-access stalls and ESF housing systems, dominant and subordinate sows used the enrichments equally. However, in the ESF barn, subordinate sows had higher cortisol levels than dominants, suggesting greater social stress in the ESF system. Sows in the ESF barn also used the enrichments about three times more frequently than those in free-access pens. Because the two barns had different management and genetics it is impossible to know what caused this difference. Sows in ESF are generally more active, but genetic differences cannot be ruled out and should be studied.

In the third study, chopped hay was provided in small hoppers in the free-access pens, and was compared to wood enrichments. Again, the use of fiber attracted more sows, but because it was held in a small hopper only a few sows could access it at once. This study found that dominant sows had more access to the hay feeders than subordinates. Higher lesion scores were also observed when chopped hay was given, indicating that aggression can increase when sows are competing for a more desirable enrichment, so providing adequate levels of enrichment is important.

Overall these studies underscore why diffused and consumable enrichments like straw are both attractive and effective for sows. Providing a number of enrichments and dispersing them throughout the pen will help to reduce any negative effects of social status. Researchers will continue to explore the potential benefits of various fiber sources, and to look for practical enrichments that promote sow interaction while posing minimal risk to biosecurity or liquid manure systems.

Following the trials, multiple farms with group sow housing participated in an extension study. Producers were used to seeing sows lying quietly for most of the day, and were surprised to see the sows’ strong attraction to enrichments. Most of all they enjoyed watching the sows interacting with enrichments. So, while the production benefits of providing enrichment to sows may be hard to measure, the satisfaction of seeing sows busy and interacting in a positive way is ample reward for some.

Perdue welcomes U.S. pork back to Argentina

USDA photo Sonny Perdue slices ham on a tall table
Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue attends a US Pork Promotion event in Buenos Aires, Agrentina.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue celebrated the reintroduction of American pork products to the Argentine market today after a more than 20-year absence by slicing a ten-pound honey baked ham.

“The U.S. is the world’s third largest pork producer and a top exporter,”Perdue said. “This new market is a big victory for American farmers and ranchers. I am confident that once the people of Argentina get a taste of American pork products, they will only want more. This is a great day for our agriculture community and an example of how the Trump Administration is committed to supporting our producers by opening new markets for their products.”

The return of U.S. pork products to Argentina was sealed during Vice President Mike Pence’s visit to Buenos Aires. Technical staff from USDA and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative have been working with Argentina’s Ministry on the terms of the agreement that are practical, science-based and consistent with relevant international animal health standards.

As President Trump and President Macri agreed in a Joint Statement in April 2017 in Washington, both countries are committed to further expansion of agricultural trade between the United States and Argentina.

U.S. pork was banned from Argentina since 1992.

Source: USDA

MIDDAY Midwest Digest, July 30, 2018

The vice president of the U.S. has joined local politicians in Indiana in condemning graffiti found at a synagogue in Caramel, Ind.

How high will the corn yield be on the crop that looks so good right now? Pollination, about complete, has gone well. Analysts believe the yield could be as good as last years, maybe better?

Iowa authorities continue to investigate the death of a crane operator at a wind field.

In the future, your hotel room may be wired, making you more connected than you maybe want to be. Amazon may offer Alexa services to hotels.